February 29, 2008

Judge dismisses suit to limit DoD anthrax vaccinations

FYI - the verdict is undergoing appeal.


Feb 29, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A federal district judge has dismissed a lawsuit aiming to stop the Pentagon's mandatory anthrax vaccination program for troops serving in some areas overseas, the Associated Press (AP) reported today.

Judge Rosemary M. Collyer in Washington, DC, said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acted appropriately when it determined the vaccine was safe and approved its use, according to the AP.

In her ruling, the story said, Collyer wrote, "The court will not substitute its own judgment when the FDA made no clear error of judgment." She dismissed a suit by eight military personnel who argued that the vaccine is unapproved and that vaccination should be optional.

A legal battle over the Department of Defense's (DoD's) mandatory vaccination program has dragged on for years. Soldiers concerned about the vaccine's side effects sued to stop the program, arguing that the FDA had never specifically approved the vaccine for preventing inhalational anthrax. In December 2003 a federal judge in Washington, DC, ordered the program stopped.

In response, the FDA affirmed that the vaccine was safe and effective for all forms of anthrax disease, and the judge then lifted his injunction. But in October 2004 he stopped the program again, ruling that the FDA had not followed proper procedures in issuing the new approval.

In January 2005, the FDA granted a Pentagon request for emergency permission to restart the vaccination program, but said the shots had to be voluntary. DoD resumed the program on a voluntary basis in April 2005. In December 2005, the FDA completed a final investigation of the vaccine and reaffirmed its earlier finding that it was safe and effective.

In October 2006 the Pentagon again made the shots mandatory for personnel serving in the Middle East and South Korea. Mandatory vaccinations have continued since then, according to Cynthia O. Smith, a DoD spokeswoman in Washington.

About 1.8 million troops have received anthrax shots since the program was launched in March 1998, according to online information from DoD. The program has been controversial, with some troops objecting to the shots because of reported serious side effects. When the shots were optional, only about 50% of affected personnel accepted them, the Pentagon said in 2006.

Smith said the vaccination requirement covers all uniformed personnel and "emergency-essential" civilian workers in the US Central Command and Korea. The shots are also required for certain forces at sea and uniformed personnel in units with missions related to biological warfare or bioterrorism, she reported.

"We vaccinate our service members to protect them against deadly diseases, both natural and those potentially spread by terrorists or enemy forces," Smith told CIDRAP News in an e-mail message. "We take very seriously the potential use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists."

The vaccine, called anthrax vaccine adsorbed and developed in the 1950s, requires six doses over a period of 18 months, followed by annual boosters.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been trying to develop a second-generation anthrax vaccine for the nation's emergency stockpile of drugs and medical supplies for civilians. The aim is to acquire a vaccine that requires fewer doses and has fewer side effects.

In 2004 HHS awarded an $877 million contract to VaxGen Inc. to make a new vaccine, but in 2006 the agency canceled the contract after problems with the vaccine's stability delayed a clinical trial. No new contract has yet been announced.

Judge dismisses challenge to military's mandatory anthrax vaccine


WASHINGTON: The Pentagon can require its troops be vaccinated against anthrax, a federal judge said Friday.

Judge Rosemary M. Collyer said the Food and Drug Administration acted appropriately when it found the vaccine to be safe and approved its use. She dismissed a lawsuit by military officials who argued the drug is unproven and the scientific data unsound.

"The court will not substitute its own judgment when the FDA made no clear error of judgment," Collyer wrote.

The dispute has languished in the court system for years. A federal judge suspended the vaccination program in 2004 after faulting the FDA's process for approving the drug. After the FDA redid the process and again found it to be safe, the military announced plans to reinstate mandatory vaccinations.

That prompted this latest lawsuit by eight military members who argued the vaccine should be optional.

The Pentagon continues to require the vaccine, saying the program is necessary to protect soldiers from anthrax attacks.

"We owe it to our service members to give them every possible protection," Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. "Force protection is the number one priority in the Defense Department and the anthrax inoculation program is an important force-protection measure."

Mark Zaid, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the FDA relied on outdated studies that didn't prove the vaccine is safe or effective against inhaled anthrax.

"It would appear the court has condoned an agency's manipulation of decades-old data to support a present-day policy objective," Zaid said. "We are absolutely going to appeal."

February 28, 2008

Engineering Warfare: A Close Look at Biological and Chemical Warfare


(NaturalNews) In this article, we will take a closer look at biological and chemical warfare from a global perspective as well as the use of pesticides and insecticides and how they helped pioneer these deadly toxins used in modern warfare and bio-terrorism as we know it today. I want to discuss the different types of diseases and viruses that are commonly used and researched today and of the past. I also want to discuss what kind of chemical weapons are used in modern warfare. We shall take a quick look at the science of genetic modification and engineering to create a virus from scratch using the most rudimentary tactics and the diseases that pose the largest threat to man-kind.

There is a real danger to our generation and even more-so to up-and-coming generations as the populations grow exponentially and governments grow more and more powerful and look for ways to reduce population size and or keep the masses in line. These threats can be seen in scare tactics across the globe and I want to inform you on the validity of these different areas so you may better understand what very-near future may come.

Biological weapons (BWs) deliver toxins and microorganisms, such as viruses and bacteria, so as to deliberately inflict disease among people, animals, and agriculture. Biological attacks can result in destruction of crops, temporarily discomforting a small community, killing large numbers of people, or other outcomes. Several differences set BWs apart from other weapons of mass destruction like nuclear and chemical weapons. The release of an agent is not immediately detectable. There are systems that detect biological agents, but most have a delay between acquiring the agent and identifying it. The effects of an attack also are not immediately detectable. People may become exposed to an agent soon after its release, but the infection requires time to cause illness (the incubation period). Thus, one of the first indicators of a BW attack could be disease outbreaks. The effect of Biological Weapons, disease, can continue after its release. If a transmissible agent, such as the smallpox or Ebola virus, infects a person at the site of its release, that person could travel and spread the agent to others. This would result in secondary infections at areas far from initial release and unprepared for the disease.

Biological weapons have been a problem for society ever since their first recorded use in the sixth century B.C. According to the U.S. government, the earliest recorded uses of biological weapons goes back to the ancient Assyrians and the ancient Greeks, who used medicinal herbs to wreak havoc before the Christian era began. Another early adopter was the Mongol horde, which threw plague-infested corpses over the walls of a Crimean fortress they happened to be besieging in the 14th century. This was perhaps history's most devastating use of biological warfare, seeing as it may have caused the Great Plague in addition to very effectively wiping out its target.

Biological weapons have a long history of use. In 1346, the invading Tartar army catapulted the bodies of plague victims into the Crimean Peninsula city of Kaffa and infected its citizens. Granted, there's a limit to the effective delivery of plague corpses, especially in the age of intercontinental ballistic missiles. In 1763, British troops under General Jeffrey Amherst gave the Delaware Indians blankets used by people with smallpox, possibly infecting the susceptible native population. Japan contaminated food and released plague-infected ticks during their conflict with China during World War II. The 2001 anthrax letter attacks in the United States infected 22 people and killed five.

As you can see, the use of biological weapons has occurred sporadically for centuries, culminating in sophisticated research and testing programs run by several countries. Biological weapons proliferation is a serious problem that is increasing the probability of a serious bioterrorism incident. The accidental release of anthrax from a military testing facility in the former Soviet Union in 1979 and Iraq's admission in 1995 to having quantities of anthrax, Botulinum toxin, and aflatoxin ready to use as weapons have clearly shown that research in the offensive use of biological agents continued, despite the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. Of the seven countries listed by the U.S. Department of State as sponsoring international terrorism, at least five are suspected to have biological warfare programs. There is no evidence at this time, however, that any state has provided biological weapons expertise to a terrorist organization.

A wide range of groups or individuals might use biological agents as instruments of terror. At the most dangerous end of the spectrum are large organizations that are well-funded and possibly state-supported. They would be expected to cause the greatest harm because of their access to scientific expertise, biological agents, and most importantly, dissemination technology, including the capability to produce refined dry agent, deliverable in milled particles of the proper size for aerosol dissemination. The Aum Shinrikyo in Japan is an example of a well-financed organization that was attempting to develop biological weapons capability. However, they were not successful in their multiple attempts to release anthrax and Botulinum toxin. On this end of the spectrum, the list of biological agents available to cause mass casualties is small and would probably include one of the classic biological agents. The probability of occurrence is low; however, the consequences of a possible successful attack are serious.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization handbook dealing with biological warfare defense lists 39 agents, including bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, and toxins, that could be used as biological weapons. Examining the relationship between aerosol infectivity and toxicity versus quantity of agent illustrates the requirements for producing equivalent effects and narrows the spectrum of possible agents that could be used to cause large numbers of causalities. For example, the amount of agent needed to cover a 100-km2 area and cause 50% lethality is 8 metric tons for even a "highly toxic" toxin such as ricin versus only kilogram quantities of anthrax needed to achieve the same coverage. Thus, deploying an agent such as ricin over a wide area, although possible, becomes impractical from a logistics standpoint, even for a well-funded organization.

The potential impact on a city can be estimated by looking at the effectiveness of an aerosol in producing downwind casualties. The World Health Organization in 1970 modeled the results of a hypothetical dissemination of 50 kg of agent along a 2-km line upwind of a large population center. Anthrax and tularemia are predicted to cause the highest number of dead and incapacitated, as well as the greatest downwind spread. A government study estimated that about 200 pounds of anthrax released upwind of Washington, D.C., could kill up to 3 million people. Here is a list of all of the recognized Biological Weapons.

Traditional biological warfare agents and agents associated with biocrimes and bioterrorism


* Bacillus anthracisb

* Ascaris suum

* Brucella suis

* Bacillus anthracisb

* Coxiella burnetiib

* Francisella tularensis

* Giardia lamblia

* Smallpox


* Viral encephalitides

* Rickettsia prowazekii

* Viral hemorrhagic feversb(typhus)

* Yersinia pestisb

* Salmonella Typhimurium

* Salmonella typhi

* Shigella species

* Schistosoma species

* Vibrio cholerae

* Viral hemorrhagic

* fevers (Ebola)b

* Yellow fever virus

* Yersinia enterocolitica

* Yersinia pestisb


* Botulinumb

* Ricinb

* Cholera endotoxin

* Staphylococcal enterotoxin B

* Diphtheria toxin

* Nicotine

* Ricinb

* Snake toxin

* Tetrodotoxin

Anti-crop agents

* Rice blast

* Rye stem rust

* Wheat stem rust

(Includes agents which were used, acquired, attempted to acquire, involved in a threat of use or an expressed interest in using. Reprinted with permission from Carus WS. Table 6: Biological agents involved. In: Carus WS. Bioterrorism and biocrimes: the illicit use of biological agents in the 20th Century. Working Paper, Center for Counterproliferation Research, National Defense University. August 1998, revised March 1999.)

Now We Need to Take a Look at Chemical Warfare

A chemical agent is a substance which is intended for use in military operations to kill, seriously injure or incapacitate a person because of its physiological effects. This definition does not include riot control agents, herbicides, smoke or flame. When a chemical agent is used in a wartime situation, it is generally used to effect the ability of the enemy combatants to fight to be weakened either by slowing the combatant down with protective gear or through diminishing their health. Most chemical agents are not used with the strict intention to kill. There are three categories of chemical agents. There are Nerve Agents, Blister Agents and Choking Agents. The nerve agents are a group of particularly toxic chemical warfare agents. They were developed just before and during World War II and are related chemically to the organ phosphorus insecticides. The principle agents in this group are:

* GA - tabun

* GB - sarin

* GD - soman

* GF - cyclosarin

* VX - methylphosphonothioic acid

The "G" agents tend to be non-persistent whereas the "V" agents are persistent. Some "G" agents may be thickened with various substances in order to increase their persistence, and therefore the total amount penetrating intact skin. At room temperature, GB is a comparatively volatile liquid and therefore non-persistent. GD is also significantly volatile, as is GA though to a lesser extent. VX is a relatively non-volatile liquid and therefore persistent. It is regarded as presenting little vapor hazard to people exposed to it. In the pure state, nerve agents are colorless and mobile liquids. In an impure state, nerve agents may be encountered as yellowish to brown liquids. Some nerve agents have a faint fruity odor.

GB and VX doses which are potentially life-threatening may be only slightly larger than those producing least effects. Death usually occurs within 15 minutes after absorption of a fatal VX dosage. Although only about half as toxic as GB by inhalation, GA in low concentrations is more irritating to the eyes than GB. Symptoms appear much more slowly from a skin dosage than from a respiratory dosage. Although skin absorption great enough to cause death may occur in 1 to 2 minutes, death may be delayed for 1 to 2 hours. Respiratory lethal dosages kill in 1 to 10 minutes, and liquid in the eye kills almost as rapidly.

Blister or vesicant agents are likely to be used both to produce casualties and to force opposing troops to wear full protective equipment thus degrading fighting efficiency, rather than to kill, although exposure to such agents can be fatal. Blister agents can be thickened in order to contaminate terrain, ships, aircraft, vehicles or equipment with a persistent hazard. Vesicants burn and blister the skin or any other part of the body they contact. They act on the eyes, mucous membranes, lungs, skin and blood-forming organs. They damage the respiratory tract when inhaled and cause vomiting and diarrhea when ingested.

The vesicant agents include:

* HD - sulfur mustard, or yperite

* HN - nitrogen mustard

* L - lewisite (arsenical vesicants may be used in a mixture with HD)

* CX - phosgene (properties and effects are very different from other vesicants)

HD and HN are the most feared vesicants historically, because of their chemical stability, their persistency in the field, the insidious character of their effects by attacking skin as well as eyes and respiratory tract, and because no effective therapy is yet available for countering their effects. Since 1917, mustard has continued to worry military personnel with the many problems it poses in the fields of protection, decontamination and treatment. It should be noted that the ease with which mustard can be manufactured and its great possibilities for acting as a vapor would suggest that in a possible future chemical war, HD will be preferred to HN.

Due to their physical properties, mustards are very persistent in cold and temperate climates. It is possible to increase the persistency by dissolving them in non-volatile solvents. In this way thickened mustards are obtained that are very difficult to remove by decontaminating processes. Exposure to mustard is not always noticed immediately because of the latent and sign-free period that may occur after skin exposure. This may result in delayed decontamination or failure to decontaminate at all. Whatever means is used has to be efficient and quick acting. Within 2 minutes contact time, a drop of mustard on the skin can cause serious damage. Chemical inactivation using chlorination is effective against mustard and lewisite, less so against HN, and is ineffective against phosgene oxime.

Chemical agents which attack lung tissue, primarily causing pulmonary edema, are classed as lung damaging agents. To this group belong:

* CG - phosgene

* DP - diphosgene

* Cl - chlorine

* PS – chloropicrin

The toxic action of phosgene is typical of a certain group of lung damaging agents. Phosgene is the most dangerous member of this group and the only one considered likely to be used in the future. Phosgene was used for the first time in 1915, and it accounted for 80% of all chemical fatalities during World War I. Phosgene is a colorless gas under ordinary conditions of temperature and pressure. Its boiling point is 8.2°C, making it an extremely volatile and non-persistent agent. Its vapor density is 3.4 times that of air. It may therefore remain for long periods of time in trenches and other low lying areas. In low concentrations it has a smell resembling new mown hay. The outstanding feature of phosgene poisoning is massive pulmonary edema. With exposure to very high concentrations death may occur within several hours; in most fatal cases pulmonary edema reaches a maximum in 12 hours followed by death in 24-48 hours. If the casualty survives, resolution commences within 48 hours and, in the absence of complicating infection, there may be little or no residual damage.

During and immediately after exposure, there is likely to be coughing, choking, a feeling of tightness in the chest, nausea, and occasionally vomiting, headache and lachrymation. The presence or absence of these symptoms is of little value in immediate prognosis. Some patients with severe coughs fail to develop serious lung injury, while others with little sign of early respiratory tract irritation develop fatal pulmonary edema. A period follows during which abnormal chest signs are absent and the patient may be symptom-free. This interval commonly lasts 2 to 24 hours but may be shorter. It is terminated by the signs and symptoms of pulmonary edema. These begin with cough (occasionally substantially painful), dyspnea, rapid shallow breathing and cyanosis. Nausea and vomiting may appear.

As the edema progresses, discomfort, apprehension and dyspnea increase and frothy sputum develops. The patient may develop shock-like symptoms, with pale, clammy skin, low blood pressure and feeble, rapid heartbeat. During the acute phase, casualties may have minimal signs and symptoms and the prognosis should be guarded. Casualties may very rapidly develop severe pulmonary edema. If casualties survive more than 48 hours they usually recover.

Scientists have now assembled the first synthetic virus. The U.S. researchers built the infectious agent from scratch using the genome sequence for polio. Scientists are divided about whether a virus is alive. For those that think it is, then this synthetic artifact would constitute a simple form of life. Responding to criticisms that such research could lead to bioterrorists engineering new lethal viruses, the scientists behind the experiment said that only a few people had the knowledge to make it happen.

To construct the virus, the researchers say they followed a recipe they downloaded from the internet and used gene sequences from a mail-order supplier. Having constructed the virus, which appears to be identical to its natural counterpart, the researchers, from the University of New York at Stony Brook, injected it into mice to demonstrate that it was active. The animals were paralyzed and then died. The reason they did it was to prove that it can be done and it now is a reality. Dr. Eckard Wimmer is the leader of the biomedical research team and co-author of the study published in the journal Science. Dr. Wimmer stated this approach has been talked about, but people didn't take it seriously.

Now people have to take it seriously. Progress in biomedical research has its benefits and it has its down side. There is a danger inherent to progress in sciences. This is a new reality, a new consideration. The polio virus assembled in the laboratory is one of the simplest known viruses. It was very easy to do. The more dangerous smallpox virus would be complex and difficult to assemble. It would probably in the future be possible. Smallpox has been eradicated in the wild, but specimens are stored in the United States and in Russia. Assembling the polio virus showed that eradicating a virus in the wild might not mean it was gone forever because biochemists could now reconstruct those viruses from blueprints.

Following the terrorist and anthrax-by-mail attacks, U.S. officials became concerned about the threat of smallpox and arranged for the manufacture of enough vaccine to protect the U.S. population. He added that it was possible that viruses like Ebola could be assembled in laboratories, but there were only a few people in the world with that skill. Polio is on the brink of being eradicated worldwide and there are plans to stop inoculations against the disease after it disappears from nature. Dr. Wimmer said that this policy should be reconsidered. Stopping vaccination could lead to a generation of people highly susceptible to polio, enhancing its appeal as a weapon. The World Health Organization is planning to stockpile vaccines against a return of polio and Dr. Wimmer said that policy should be followed everywhere.

Some say that the AIDS virus was engineered. There is a close connection between the rise of genetic engineering and mixing of viruses in the early 1970s and the outbreak of HIV in the late 1970s. This connection persists in the form of the many unprecedented "emerging diseases" caused by "new viruses" that continue up to the present time.

In 1970 the discovery of a cell enzyme, called "reverse transcriptase" by Howard Temin and David Baltimore, allowed molecular biologists to detect so-called retroviruses in some animal cancers. It was soon recognized that retroviruses could be found normally in the genes of many animal cells, and that scientists could manipulated these viruses to produce detrimental effects on the immune system. In "species jumping" laboratory experiments, many viruses were transferred between different animal species and were also adapted to human cells.

As part of President Richard Nixon's "War on Cancer," genetic engineering of viruses became an integral part of the now largely forgotten Special Virus Cancer Program, conducted under the auspices of the NCI. Nixon also transferred part of the Army's biological warfare unit at Fort Detrick, Maryland, over to the NCI, thereby allowing secret biowarfare experimentation to be carried out under cover of bona fide cancer research. All this virus transfer and molecular manipulation was a biologic disaster waiting too happen. This culminated in a historic conference entitled "Biohazards in Biological Research" held at Asilomar, near Pacific Grove in California in 1973. Despite the biologic dangers, it was decided to continue this research.

By the late-1970s the War against Cancer and the Virus Cancer Program proved a failure with no cancer-causing retroviruses found in humans. The Program was winding down in 1978, at the exact time when government scientists were also enrolling thousands of gay men in New York City to serve as guinea pigs in the hepatitis B experiment that took place that same year at the New York Blood Centre in Manhattan. In 1979 the first cases of AIDS in gay men were reported from Manhattan. Five years later, Gallo, who had worked for the Virus Cancer Program, "discovered" the retrovirus that causes AIDS; and Duesberg, who also worked for the Virus Cancer Program, continues to declare that HIV is harmless.

The earliest AIDS cases in America can be clearly traced back to the time period when the hepatitis B experiment began at the New York Blood Centre. The Centre began injecting gay men with multiple doses of the experimental vaccine in November 1978. The inoculations ended in October 1979, less than two years before the official start of the epidemic. Most importantly, the vaccine was developed in chimpanzees – the primate now thought to contain the "ancestor" virus of HIV. Also downplayed is the Centre's pre-AIDS connection to primate research in Africa and also to a primate centre in the New York City area. The final experimental vaccine was also made by Merck and the NIH from the pooled serum specimens of countless gay men who carried the hepatitis B virus in their blood.

The New York Blood Centre is the largest independent blood supplier and distributor in the USA. In 1970, Alfred M Prince, M.D., head of the New York Blood Centre Laboratory of Virology, began his hepatitis research with chimps housed at Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in downstate Tuxedo, NY. Until disbanded in 1997, Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery supplied New York area scientists with primates and primate parts for transplantation and virus research.

Founded in 1965, Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery was affiliated with New York University Medical Centre, where the first cases of AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma were discovered in 1979. NYU Medical Centre researchers were also heavily involved in the development of the experimental hepatitis B vaccine, and the Centre received government grants and contracts connected with biological warfare research beginning in 1969, according to Dr. Leonard Horowitz, author of Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola (1996).

In 1974 Prince, with the support of Aaron Kellner, President of the New York Blood Centre moved the chimp hepatitis research to a new primate centre called Vilab II in Robertsfield, Liberia, in Africa. Chimps were captured from various parts of West Africa and brought to VILAB. The lab also prides itself by releasing "rehabilitated" chimps back into the wild. One cannot help but wonder if some of the purported "ancestors" of HIV in the African bush have their origin in chimpanzees held in African primate labs for vaccine and medical experimentation.

The hepatitis B experiment, which inoculated over 1,000 healthy gay men, was a huge success with 96% of the men developing antibodies against the hepatitis virus. This high rate of success could not have been achieved if the men were immune suppressed, because immune suppressed people do not easily form antibodies to the vaccine. The experiment was followed by similar hepatitis B experiments using gay men in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver and St. Louis, beginning in March 1980 and ending in October 1981, the same year the epidemic became official.

In the mid-1980s the many blood specimens donated by the gay Manhattan men during the experiment were retrospectively examined for HIV infection by researchers at the NYBC. It was determined that 6% of the specimens donated in-between 1978 - 1979 was positive for HIV. By 1984 (the end of the study period) over 40% of the men tested positive for HIV.

The final fate of all the men in the experiment has never been revealed. However, the blood donated by these men is the oldest HIV-positive blood tests on record in the United States. The full story of this experiment and its aftermath are contained in my two books on man-made AIDS: AIDS and the Doctors of Death (1988), and Queer Blood (1993). One fact is obvious: There was no AIDS in America until the exact year the government began experimenting with gay men.

The most dangerous disease known to man is actually one that has not received much attention aside form the scare earlier this decade. It is the Avian Influenza. This is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. There are many different subtypes of type "A" influenza viruses. These subtypes differ because of changes in certain proteins on the surface of the influenza "A" virus (hem agglutinin [HA] and neuraminidase "NA" proteins). There are 16 known "HA" subtypes and 9 known NA subtypes of influenza "A" viruses. Many different combinations of "HA" and "NA" proteins are possible. Each combination represents a different subtype. All known subtypes of influenza "A" viruses can be found in birds.

Usually, "avian influenza virus" refers to influenza A viruses found chiefly in birds, but infections with these viruses can occur in humans. The risk from avian influenza is generally low to most people, because the viruses do not usually infect humans. However, confirmed cases of human infection from several subtypes of avian influenza infection have been reported since 1997. Most cases of avian influenza infection in humans have resulted from contact with infected poultry (e.g., domesticated chicken, ducks, and turkeys) or surfaces contaminated with secretion/excretions from infected birds. The spread of avian influenza viruses from one ill person to another has been reported very rarely, and has been limited, inefficient and unsustained.

"Human influenza virus" usually refers to those subtypes that spread widely among humans. There are only three known A subtypes of influenza viruses (H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2) currently circulating among humans. It is likely that some genetic parts of current human influenza "A" viruses came from birds originally. Influenza "A" viruses are constantly changing, and they might adapt over time to infect and spread among humans. During an outbreak of avian influenza among poultry, there is a possible risk to people who have contact with infected birds or surfaces that have been contaminated with secretions or excretions from infected birds.

Symptoms of avian influenza in humans have ranged from typical human influenza-like symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections, pneumonia, severe respiratory diseases (such as acute respiratory distress), and other severe and life-threatening complications. The symptoms of avian influenza may depend on which virus caused the infection. Studies done in laboratories suggest that some of the prescription medicines approved in the United States for human influenza viruses should work in treating avian influenza infection in humans. However, influenza viruses can become resistant to these drugs, so these medications may not always work. Additional studies are needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of these medicines.

There are many other threats out there like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS, the "Superbug" staph infection or sexually transmitted diseases. None of this may ever come to fruition, or we could all die tomorrow in a freak accident. This paper is not to incite panic but to merely inform of the potential dangers we are faced with today, whether engineered by the very governments that protect and serve or whether nature will battle us with bacteria's and viruses. The preemptive strike is knowledge.

Works Cited:

NATO Handbook on the Medical Aspects of NBC Defensive Operations, "Part III - Chemical" - U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Army, February 1996

NATO Handbook on the Medical Aspects of NBC Defensive Operations, "Part II - Biological" - U.S. Department of Defense, Department of the Army, February 1996

The Militarily Critical Technologies List Part II: Weapons of Mass Destruction Technologies (ADA 330102), "Biological Weapons Technology" - U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, February 1998

Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 4th Edition - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, April 1999

Hooper, Edward, Aids and the polio vaccine, London Review of Books, Vol. 25, No. 7, 3April 2003

About the author

Nicholas Wurschmidt is a student in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is a musician, painter and a writer. Nicholas is studying Business Managment and Politics. He is and Auditor in the Hospitality Industry.

February 24, 2008

Anthrax tests on troops to be conducted ‘strictly under supervision'


Following deliberation on petition protesting IDF medical experimentation on soldiers, government announces Ministry of Health to supervise such experiments

State officials reported to the High Court of Justice on Sunday that all medical experiments on IDF soldiers are to be conducted only under strict Health Ministry supervision and approval.

The State also reported to the court that the Health Ministry protocol for human experimentation is to be implemented in the IDF as standard command.

Guinea Pigs

IDF secretly uses soldiers as anthrax vaccine guinea pigs / Ines Ehrlich TV documentary reveals army tested experimental anthrax vaccines on elite combat soldiers, but refused to treat them after adverse symptoms appeared.

This announcement was made following a petition brought to the court by the human rights group Physicians for Human Rights, in conjunction with several Israeli Defense Force soldiers, protesting medical experimentation on active duty soldiers in the IDF.

Most prominently, petitioners protested the use of IDF soldiers in secret experiments testing Anthrax vaccines, codenamed “Omer 2”.

Physicians For Human Rights petitioned the High Court three months ago, demanding that the IDF stop medical experimentation on soldiers, and demanding the establishment of a commission of inquiry on this matter.

The IDF soldiers petitioning the court demanded that they be compensated for pain and suffering endured during such experimentation.

The “Omer 2” Anthrax experiment that triggered this petition was held between 1999 and 2006, and included some 800 IDF soldiers. The experiment included a series of seven injections, some including an American Anthrax vaccine, and others a recently developed Israeli formula.

Physicians for Human Right has maintained that the experiment failed to uphold several ethical imperatives, including garnering the informed consent of the soldiers in question, as well as following up on their general health and well being at the conclusion of the experiment.

Israeli law regulates medical experiments on human beings through sub-ordinances rather than through major legislation. In the IDF, the legislative status of human medical experiments is even more uncorroborated.

February 21, 2008

Experiments in full responsibility

By Haaretz Editorial

The state's response to a High Court of Justice petition by soldiers who were subjected to medical experiments with anti-anthrax drugs (the experiments known as Omer 2) is a small but important step on the road to regulating one of the most neglected human rights issues in Israel. Admittedly, the state - in contrast to the soldiers - claims that the experiments were performed in accordance with accepted medical and ethical norms, and that there was nothing wrong with them. Nevertheless, it also stated, "The defense establishment bears full responsibility for the care of the soldiers who were harmed."

This announcement includes two important points: an admission of the causal link between the experiments and the damage to the soldiers' health, and an assumption of full responsibility for the soldiers' care and treatment.

The state thereby demonstrated a different approach than the one that has hitherto characterized the Defense Ministry, the chief of staff, the army's chief medical officer and the health minister. All had previously tried to deny any connection between the experiments and their results, as well as to evade any responsibility for the soldiers suffering to this day.

As part of the Omer 2 experiments, some 800 soldiers doing their compulsory service were injected with a vaccination against anthrax, a disease that had been defined as one of the great dangers facing Israel's citizens. The soldiers who were chosen, all from elite units, accepted at face value the establishment's promises that they would suffer no side effects other than mild discomfort, and that the injection had been successfully tested in the United States. At the insistence of those conducting the experiment, the soldiers maintained strict secrecy and did not even inform their commanders.

This secrecy was maintained even years later, when some of them developed serious symptoms: pneumonia, breathing problems, digestive tract inflammations, severe coughs, severe migraines, recurrent sores and other problems. Despite the army's promises of close and continuous medical monitoring, each of them was forced to deal with these problems on his own.

Only in 2007, when some of the injured soldiers discovered that they were not alone in the war and began comparing their medical problems, was the story of the secret experiment finally revealed in the press, and a group was formed to go to the bodies responsible - this time in an organized fashion. The soldiers had a simple and reasonable demand: that the system recognize them as a distinct group and take responsibility for the harm done to them, and that it give them their medical files so that they could obtain appropriate treatment.

When their repeated applications met only with repeated evasions, the group, numbering 34 soldiers, petitioned the High Court. As noted, the state's response to this petition bodes well. And no less important is its response to another petition, by Physicians for Human Rights, which asked the court to ban medical experiments on Israel Defense Forces personnel unless the issue is regulated through legislation. The state responded by undertaking to abide by certain interim restrictions until the necessary legislation is passed.

This response, which does not evade a fundamental discussion of the question of experiments on human beings in general, and on IDF soldiers as a "captive audience" in particular, arouses hope that the defense establishment will finally grasp the importance of human rights, and that the suffering caused to the petitioners will serve as a warning to defense and medical personnel.

February 15, 2008

FDA ties pnemonia deaths to infant vaccine


WASHINGTON - GlaxoSmithKline Plc's rotavirus vaccine is associated with increased pneumonia-related deaths and other adverse reactions, U.S. regulatory staff said in documents posted on Friday.

The review comes ahead of a Food and Drug Administration advisory meeting next Wednesday to consider approval of the oral vaccine to prevent the most common cause of severe diarrhea and dehydration among infants and young children in the world.
FDA staff said its analysis of 11 studies revealed that in the largest trial, there was a statistically significant increase in deaths related to pneumonia compared with placebo, documents posted on the FDA's Web site said.

That study, which enrolled about 63,000 children, also found an increase in convulsions in children given the drug, named Rotarix. Another study found an increased rate of bronchitis, compared with placebo.

In a conclusion section, the FDA documents noted the pneumonia-related deaths and convulsions, but did not appear to make a recommendation to the advisory panel.
That expert panel will weigh the staff review, but makes its own recommendation, which is typically followed by the FDA.